Thursday, July 4, 2013

Some thoughts on the book, Entering the 21st Century Spiritually

- by Emanuel Blosser

Sue Simpson writes:

...The title of my talk, 'The Path of Anthroposophy Today', left me puzzling with the words 'the path'. I felt it only partially represented something. There is a path that all can walk - and, at the same time , there are as many paths as there are people in this room, as there are people on earth. everyone of these pats is unique and individual; each journey is individual and valid. And in recognizing this we begin to learn how to walk with one another.

....How can we as anthroposophists, as fellow human beings, help one another to take hold of an impulse and move forward?

....To me the path of anthroposophy is as diverse as you are in this room, and in our diversity we work and walk with one another.


In Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment, Rudolf Steiner writes in chapters one and two:

...There is, in truth, no difference between esoteric knowledge and all the rest of man's knowledge and proficiency. This esoteric knowledge is no more of a secret for the average human being than writing is a secret for those who have never learned it. And just as all can learn to write who choose the correct method, so, too, can all who seek the right way become esoteric students and even teachers.

...The methods by which a student is prepared for the reception of higher knowledge are minutely prescribed. The direction he is to take is traced with unfading, everlasting letters in the worlds of the spirit where the initiates guard the higher secrets.

...The soul world (astral plane) broadens out slowly before him. These lines and figures are in no sense arbitrary. Two students who have reached the corresponding stage of development will always see the same lines and figures under the same conditions. Just as a round table will be seen as round by two normal persons, and not as round by one and square by the other, so too, at the sight of a flower, the same spiritual figure is presented to the soul. And just as the forms of animals and plants are described in ordinary natural history, so too, the spiritual scientist describes or draws the spiritual forms of the process of growth

...There are, in fact, people with considerable psychic gifts who need but a slight impulse in order to find themselves already developed. But they are the exceptions, and the methods described above are safer and apply equally to all. It is possible to acquire some knowledge of chemistry in an exceptional way, but if you wish to become a chemist you must follow the recognized and reliable course.


Are there as many ways to do chemistry as there are people on earth? Are there as many ways to do anthroposophy as there are people in this room? What is the relationship between knowledge and individuality? Doesn't knowledge by definition mean a content and activity that reaches out beyond my individuality? If I want to compose music do I need to know the theory of composition in order to make an expression of my individuality? Is a musical expression that contains only the results of my individuality interesting to listen to or is music interesting because an individual finds a new way to express what is universal between individuals?

In the sense world, in my bodily sense experience, I can never see what you see in your bodily sense experience. Just think of how it feels with I see the glory of a shooting star and you are standing right next to me but didn't see it. My feeling life goes somewhere, has a content, that yours can't follow because you didn't see it. You can see and feel my feeling life change and become filled with the excitement of what I saw, but since you didn't see it the excitement can only be vicarious or from a memory of you having seen a shooting star some other time. In the sense world I can never walk the same path that you walk. We can never swim in the same river twice or even once as the old sages have pointed out.

And yet there it is an old thought, 'I can never swim in the same river twice', just as true now as it was 2500 years ago when it was first discovered and just as true for me as it is for you. There is no diversity in this fact of the sense world any more than there is diversity in the fact that your sense experience will never be the same as mine. These are truths that are the same for everyone.

Steiner offers us the logic that when I observe facts that transcend my individually and are true for every other individuality then I am observing a world that is different from the sense world because in the sense world every fact must suffer the division from the whole and holiness my individuality imposes on it. When I observe facts that don't suffer the diversity of individuality then I must be looking at a different world and need to name it appropriately. In the opening paragraphs of chapter one of his book Theosophy, Steiner explicitly states that these observations are what he is referring to when he uses the word 'spirit'.

In my thought life I can also observe that there are many thoughts that don't have this quality of being true for every individual. Many of my thoughts only apply to my sense experience, to my feeling life, or simply are my own fantasies that have nothing to do with facts of any world other than my own. If I am going to pursue a path of knowledge I have to learn a method of distinguishing these various characteristics.

If I want to help you on your path in the sense world or I want to work with you in the sense world where we are separated by our individual bodily experience, I have to have first found and develop an intentional activity in that realm where we are not divided by our individuality.

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